The story of our modern history is being told by our culture, values, and belief. For many centuries, books have been one of the central forms of entertainment for humankind. While all books affect readers in different ways, history has shown that some books have a way of reaching and impacting large groups of people so that they are forever changed. These books have been so influential that even today millennia have passed some of they still have a huge impact on our everyday lives.
The Analects by Confucius
Written more than 2,400 years ago, the book underpins the cultural structure of China. Unlike the Bible and Qur’an, which focus on spirituality, the Analects is a practical account of the human order of things: family loyalty, moral virtue, social hierarchy, and politics. If you are Chinese, lines from the Bible such as “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” can only bewilder you, as Confucius said nearly the opposite: “It is only the truly virtuous man who can love and hate others.” Hate is a necessary moral stance for a Chinese man.
On the Origin of Species: By Means of Natural Selection
Even Darwin wasn’t the first to propose that species have mutated through time; the idea of evolution has been around in some form or other since the ancient Greeks. But it was Darwin – and, simultaneously, Alfred Russel Wallace – who worked out natural selection as the mechanism by which evolution worked. This book propels the awareness of populace for other origins of our species.
Euclid’s Elements Complete Collection
Written in Alexandria around 300BC, Elements is a 13-book treatise whose 465 theorems lay down what the Greeks knew about geometry at that time. Highlights include a proof of Pythagoras’s theorem and proof that there is an infinite number of prime numbers. Elements are one of the most important maths books of all time (the other one is Principia by Isaac Newton) not because of the subject matter, but because of its revolutionary method. This book becomes the foundation of our modern science and technology.
The Communist Manifesto
“A frightful hobgoblin stalks through Europe … ” that was how the first, botched attempt to translate the Communist Manifesto into English began. In the authorized version it reads “A specter is haunting Europe”. And, in a different guise, the same specter has haunted Europe at moments of crisis ever since Marx and Engels wrote it. The Manifesto was published a few weeks before the 1848 revolution in France, and shipped via Paris to Germany, where a full-scale revolutionary war promptly broke out. Here the minuscule communist sects, composed of skilled workers and radical students, found themselves having to side with radical democrats against, first, the toppled monarchy and then the bourgeoisie, which, on first sight of armed workers, became distinctly un-revolutionary.
The Republic by Plato
Written around 380 BCE, this text is considered to be one of the most influential pieces ever written. The Republic observes justice in man and politics and discusses the role of the philosopher in society. Many of the intellectual concepts contained in The Republic are still discussed today, but the text is also an important historical document that provides historians with a snapshot of Greece at the time of its writing.
Originally, Biblia meant “books”. Greek-speaking Jews and Christians used the word as a shorthand for their scriptures: a vast treasury of texts written at various times, in various places, and in various styles. Jews, naturally, had no patience with the four accounts of Jesus’s life, the history of the early church and the corpus of letters ascribed to various apostles that, some four centuries after the lifetime of Jesus, had come to be canonized by Christians as a New Testament. There was little disagreement, though, as to what constituted the great core of scripture known to Jews as the Tanakh and to Christians – unsurprisingly – as the Old Testament. A collection of laws believed to have been authored by God himself; a history of the world from its creation through to the rise and fall of various empires in the near east; books of prophecies, of poetry and of Proverbs: Biblia indeed.